Sunday, March 09, 2008


By nature, humans are builders, tool makers, fixers. We revel in success of even the most mundane tools. Take, for instance, the humble spark plus. It's purpose is simple; make a spark. That spark then ignites a compressed air/fuel mixture in a cylinder. That ignited mixture presses against a moving piston, giving it energy to move a car or truck or motorcycle or lawnmower.

Several weeks ago my truck started exhibiting a rather odd symptom. I would press on the clutch pedal but the clutch would not completely release! After a week or so of parking the truck on the street, I decided to attempt my own repair. Parking the truck on the street had nothing to do with it's poor behavior. The street angles downhill slightly, giving the advantage to a poor, clutch challenged pick-up.

After buying a repair manual and a few other necessities, I decided the time was right. I dug in. After one other trip to the parts store and a little crawling underneath the transmission, the drive train was running fine. I had done it! I am HUMAN!

So comes this weekend and the weather here is beautiful. Temperatures in the 70s, sun shining and brilliant, one could barely ask for a better day for auto repair. New spark plugs in one hand and tools in the other, I take on the task of performing a minor tuneup on my pickup. In two hours, she was puring her enjoyment as if I had freshly groomed her.

Testosterone was flowing. Another trip to the parts store and I was elbow-deep in the grease and grime and gunk that thrives under the hood of my ex-wife's paperweight of a car. Four spark plugs, two ruined grease rags and a set of spark plug cables, and while the little car wasn't necessarily purring, she was definitely operational and running.

Finish it all off with two or three beers and an hour washing my motorcycle as the sun set over Black Mountain. For all those years I had been told to, "...just let the mechanic fix it." Forgotten over the past 20 some years was the simple joy of performing minor repairs; simply fixing something. There is so much simple joy in these actions.

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